BEST Team Holds Interactive Expo

The Business Education Strategic Team (BEST) held an interactive Career Expo on Wednesday, October 9th at the 4H Building in El Dorado. 

The BEST Career Expo was held at the Butler County Community Building on October 9th
The El Dorado Chamber of Commerce hosted the event in partnership with area businesses.

The event was designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to engage in the interactive exploration of careers and industry.  It was a collaboration between the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, both El Dorado and Circle High Schools, local businesses, the Workforce Centers and Butler Community College. 

High school students had the exclusive opportunity to engage in hands on-learning until 3:30pm at which time college students, parents, and the general public were welcomed.

“Being able to align business needs with corresponding educational pathways is important, and a primary goal of the BEST committee,” said Teresa Bergen, committee chair.

According to a report from Worldwide Interactive Network, Inc. (WIN) a career readiness resource organization, “In many states, education, economic development and workforce development policy largely function separate from one another.  As separate sets of policy, they often conflict and, consequently, do not maximize their impact on the overall economic health of a state or region. States should align these three policy areas into a single strategy they term the ‘Educonomy.’” 
Educonomy

Furthermore, the WIN report stated that understanding a region’s educonomy requires “identifying business and industry talent needs, understanding the current and emerging occupational and job-specific skills that are in demand, and take an inventory of the quantity and quality of people willing and able to seek employment in critical occupations.”

Some of the area employers participating in the expo included: 

Butler Community College

Susan B. Allen Memorial

Kansas Department of Transportation

Flinthills Services, Inc.

BG Products

Velocity

Butler Electric Cooperative

Homestead Assisted Living & Memory Care

Kansas State University Global Campus

Hogoboom Oil Field Trucking

Everyday El Dorado

Valmont

SERC Physical Therapy

Barsol

Kansas Department of Corrections

Emprise Bank

Dustrol, Inc.

Stanfield Roofing

Mary Kay

UTLX

Pro Kleen

Beran Concrete

 

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Miss Frontier Promotes Foreign Language Education 

While fans of the PBS drama “Downton Abbey” prepare for its big screen debut and the arrival of the Queen, another type of queen has arrived on campus, with much less fanfare.  The newly crowned Miss Frontier, Naomi Galindo, has also gained a new title – Butler Grizzly.  

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Miss Frontier 2019 Naomi Galindo appeared before the City Commission to promote the HollyFrontier Western Celebration as one of her first duties.  Photo by Deanna Bonn 

Galindo began classes this fall at Butler and aims to eventually earn a Ph.D. in Linguistics.  She currently speaks three languages, French, English and Spanish and has started learning Russian this semester. 

“I’m planning to attend KU and major in Russian/East European/Central Asian studies with a minor in political science ,” Galindo said.

While you may think it’s her crown and sash that set her apart from the average student, it’s actually her social initiative and personal passion of promoting Foreign Language Education for Grades K-12.  

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Miss Frontier 2019 Naomi Galindo. Photo by Jennifer West

As Miss Frontier, Galindo will have many opportunities to share her platform and help raise awareness for the importance of Foreign Language Education for students from kindergarten through high school.  

The Miss Frontier pageant is a part of the HollyFrontier Western Celebration and is held annually in El Dorado.  The young woman crowned each year serves an ambassador to the celebration and they go on to represent the community through a variety of volunteer opportunities and appearances. 

Galindo said, “I’m a huge fan of Miss Universe and so I found out that we had a local pageant and I decided to compete.”  

Many young women participate in pageants as a way to help pay for school.  Many pageant systems provide scholarship money or partner with colleges to provide in-kind scholarships.  Through her participation in pageants, Galindo has started college debt-free and plans to continue competing to earn more scholarships.  She previously held the titles of Miss Teen Frontier 2017 and Miss Teen El Dorado 2018.  

Galindo said, “I would like to promote my platform, keep developing myself and my platform. I would also like to compete in the Miss Kansas pageant.” 
As a result of winning the title of Miss Frontier, Galindo has the opportunity to participate in the Miss Kansas Competition.  The Miss Kansas Competition is a part of the Miss America Organization and participation in that program opens the doors to even more scholarships.     

According to the Miss America Organization, “The Miss America Organization is one of the nation’s largest providers of scholarship assistance to young women.” 

The Miss Kansas Scholarship Program is for young women age 17-25 years old. 

According to the Miss Kansas Organization, through their participation in the program, young women earn more than scholarship awards for college.  They gain community service experience as well as experience in speaking extemporaneously.   

They learn to formulate and present their views on important issues.  They grow in grace while improving social skills. They learn to set goals and work toward physical fitness and they learn to build a network while meeting new people with confidence and security.

The young women who participate in the Miss Kansas Scholarship Program gain experience in planning and time management as well as developing a performance talent.  Galindo’s talent is singing and she performed a song in Croatian at Miss Frontier. 

Galindo’s reign will be marked by a year of service.  In addition to multiple opportunities to volunteer, she will advocate for a personal platform, also known as a social initiative.  A social initiative is a project developed by the individual and acts as catalysts for positive social change.  

Galindo’s social initiative is promoting Foreign Language Education for Grades K-12.  Additionally, Galindo wants to encourage other young women to compete for scholarships. 

“This year I’m working on recruiting girls for the Miss and Teen Division to get them involved with the pageant.  There are a lot of opportunities such as winning a scholarship, gaining confidence and developing friendships,” Galindo said. 

While the next Miss Kansas Competition is not until June 2020, Galindo will be busy with her classes at Butler Community College and her royal duties as Miss Frontier.

 

 

Butler County Motor Vehicle Western Office Closure

Starting September 3rd, 2019, the Butler County Motor Vehicle Western Office will be temporarily closed for remodeling. The Western Office will be open through normal operating hours Friday, August 30th, 2019. The closure is expected to last sixty to ninety days, with updates on reopening dates to be provided as available.

During the Western Office closure all Butler County Motor Vehicle transactions will be processed at the Main Motor Vehicle Office, situated on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse located at 205 W Central, El Dorado, KS 67042.

The Western Office remodel will allow for more Motor Vehicle Clerk stations to be installed, increasing the stations from four to six, which will assist in better serving patrons. The remodel also allows for security enhancements to be made to increase the security and well-being of staff and patrons alike.

Mail-in, online, and in-person Motor Vehicle transactions will proceed as usual at the Main Motor Vehicle Office during the Western Office closure. Mail-in and online transactions are a convenient way in which vehicle owners can complete transactions without traveling to the Motor Vehicle Office. Patrons who intend to travel to the Motor Vehicle office are encouraged to get in line via QLess prior to arriving at the office; thereby reducing wait time at the office itself.

To get in line for the Main Motor Vehicle Office via text or online visit the Butler County Motor Vehicle webpage at https://www.bucoks.com/395/Motor-Vehicle. If you do not sign in to QLess prior to arriving at the Main Office please be sure to sign in at the kiosk in front of the Butler County Treasurer’s Office once you do arrive so as to assist with reducing your in-office wait time.

County officials thank patrons for their patience during this closure to complete much needed remodeling. Please contact the Butler County Treasurer’s Office with questions at 316-322-4210.

City of El Dorado 2020 Budget Approved

El Dorado Boy Scout Troop #222 made a visit to the City Commission meeting to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The City of El Dorado Budget for 2020 was approved Monday night. City Manager David Dillner explained to the Commission that the Total Budget Authority for the year is expected to be $32.9 million.

Jordan Buxton, El Dorado Chamber of Commerce Director, along with Sue Hoefgen of Augusta Chamber of Commerce, shared information on the Butler County Act Program.

The goal of the Butler County Act Program is to create an ACT ready community. ACT Work Ready Communities Program (WRC) empowers states, regions and counties with data, processes and tools that drive economic growth.

Commissioner Wilkinson stated, “As a former educator I appreciate it is not just the schools involved but the chamber as well.” Mayor Haines added that he appreciates the bridge between the workforce and schools.

A date of September 12th is scheduled to launch the program. To learn more contact Jordan Buxton at the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce or Sara Hoefgen at the Augusta Chamber of Commerce.

Also appearing before the Commission was the HollyFrontier Western Celebration chairman, Tabitha Sharp. She was joined by the newly crowned Miss Frontier 2019, Naomi Galindo. They shared information about the upcoming festival and invited the Commissioners to attend this year’s event.

The festival begins Friday, August 9 with Mutton Bustin’, the Extreme Bull Blowout, and a concert by Kyle Park.

Saturday includes a parade through downtown, the Kids Korral at East Park in partnership with the Butler County History Center and Kansas Oil Museum. A Junior Ranch Rodeo will be held at 1p on Saturday followed by the Butler County Ranch Rodeo and a concert with Jason Callahan.

The weekend rounds out with Cowboy Church on Sunday. Tickets are $10, can be purchased at the gate, and provide admission to the festival all weekend. The City of El Dorado is a sponsor of the HollyFrontier Western Celebration. The HollyFrontier Western Celebration is a committee of El Dorado Main Street.

USD 490 2019-2020 Board Appointments

While certainly not a new face at the USD 490 BOE meetings, Superintendent Teresa Tosh has been attending meetings since she was hired earlier this year.  However, this was her first monthly board meeting since assuming the helm from Sue Givens who retired at the end of June.  

During the meeting Kimberly Koop, Director of Information Services was recognized by the board for the BG Stadium Annual Report she submitted.  The report earned a National School Public Relations Award.  

Actions taken by the Board included the Reorganization of the Board of Education for 2019-2020.  A resolution to extend terms of current officers of the board was approved, as were board appointments. 

Those appointments were: 

Melissa Smith was appointed Clerk of the Board and Human Resources Assistant Sherry Bilson was appointed Assistant Clerk of the Board

Director of Human Resources Lynda Sharp and Human Resources Assistant Sherry Bilson as KPERS Representatives

Wendy McAdoo as Board Treasurer for the 2019-2020 School Year 

Melissa Smith as District Food Service Program Representative

Kathy Robertson as Hearing Officer for Free and Reduced Meal Application Appeals

DeAnna Pierce, Elementary Assistant Principal as Local Consolidated Plan Coordinator

Norm Wilks as KASB Governmental Relations Representative

Heather Nichols as Representative to the Special Education Cooperative Board

Vicki Coash as the Ex Officio Representative to Partners in Education Foundation Board of Directors. 

Superintendent Teresa Tosh as the District Freedom of Information Officer

Director of Information Services Kim Koop as District Records Custodian

Norm Wilks and Tom Storrer as Board Representatives on the 2019-2020 Negotiations Team.

Tom Storrer to serve on the District Leadership Team for 2019-2020

Norm Wilks and Monty Hughey to serve on the Educational Facility Authority of Butler County for 2019-2020, with Tom Storrer as an alternate

2019-2020 School Site Councils Representatives:

Skelly Elementary School—Vicki Coash

Blackmore Elementary School— Sharon Waugh

Grandview Elementary School— Monty Hughey

El Dorado Middle School—Heather Nichols 

With the 2019-2020 school year beginning on Tuesday, August 13the for grades PreK-6 and 9 and Wednesday, August 14th for grades 7, 8, and 10-12, walk-in enrollment begins on August 5th.  New Teacher Orientation will be held that day as well and an all-staff meeting will be conducted on August 6th.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Monday, July 29th at the DIstrict Office.  

 

NLRB Hears Allegations Against SBA

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held a hearing at the Butler County Judicial Center involving charges made against Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital by former employees, Lori R. Dashner and Gay Kimble.

 The NLRB was created in 1935 by Congress to administer the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA is the law that governs relations between labor unions and employers whose operations involve interstate commerce. 

Dashner and Kimble, who were terminated within an hour of one another, claim they were illegally terminated and they were fired as a result of “Concerted Activities.” 

Alan Rupe, attorney for Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital (SBA), noted in his opening statements that some of the employee activities fell under protected concerted activities.  However, he added the employees were not terminated for those activities. 

In an official statement released by SBA, they contend the employees were terminated as a result of safety and security breaches.  

“Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital maintains that it operated within the guidelines of the National Labor Relations Act. All personnel decisions are made with the intent to protect the safety of the patients and employees at SBA.”

According to the NLRB, under the protection of concerted activities, employees have the right to act with co-workers to address work-related issues in many ways.  Examples include: talking with one or more co-workers about wages and benefits or other working conditions, circulating a petition asking for better hours, participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions, openly talking about pay and benefits, and joining with co-workers to talk directly to the employer, to a government agency, or to the media about problems in [the] workplace. [An] employer cannot discharge, discipline, or threaten for, or coercively question about, protected concerted activity.  A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action. However, [employees] can lose protection by saying or doing something egregiously offensive or knowingly and maliciously false, or by publicly disparaging [the] employer’s products or services without relating complaints to any labor controversy.

The complaints filed by Dashner and Kimble cited Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act which makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer “to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7” 

Employers are restricted from the following actions:

  • Threaten employees with adverse consequences, such as closing the workplace, loss of benefits, or more onerous working conditions, if they support a union, engage in union activity, or select a union to represent them.
  • Threaten employees with adverse consequences if they engage in protected, concerted activity. (Activity is “concerted” if it is engaged in with or on the authority of other employees, not solely by and on behalf of the employee himself. It includes circumstances where a single employee seeks to initiate, induce, or prepare for group action, as well as where an employee brings a group complaint to the attention of management. Activity is “protected” if it concerns employees’ interests as employees. An employee engaged in otherwise protected, concerted activity may lose the Act’s protection through misconduct.)
  • Promise employees benefits if they reject the union.
  • Imply a promise of benefits by soliciting grievances from employees during a union organizing campaign. (However, if you regularly solicited employee grievances before the campaign began, you may continue that practice unchanged.)
  • Confer benefits on employees during a union organizing campaign to induce employees to vote against the union.
  • Withhold changes in wages or benefits during a union organizing campaign that would have been made had the union not been on the scene, unless you make clear to employees that the change will occur whether or not they select the union, and that your sole purpose in postponing the change is to avoid any appearance of trying to influence the outcome of the election.
  • Coercively question employees about their own or coworkers’ union activities or sympathies. (Whether questioning is coercive and therefore unlawful depends on the relevant circumstances, including who asks the questions, where, and how; what information is sought; whether the questioned employee is an open and active union supporter; and whether the questioning occurs in a context of other unfair labor practices.)
  • Prohibit employees from talking about the union during working time, if you permit them to talk about other non-work-related subjects.
  • Poll your employees to determine the extent of their support for a union, unless you comply with certain safeguards. You must not have engaged in unfair labor practices or otherwise created a coercive atmosphere. In addition, you must (1) communicate to employees that the purpose of the poll is to determine whether the union enjoys majority support (and that must, in truth, be your purpose); (2) give employees assurances against reprisal; and (3) conduct the poll by secret ballot.
  • Spy on employees’ union activities. (“Spying” means doing something out of the ordinary to observe the activity. Seeing open union activity in workplace areas frequented by supervisors is not “spying.”)
  • Create the impression that you are spying on employees’ union activities.
  • Photograph or videotape employees engaged in peaceful union or other protected activities.
  • Solicit individual employees to appear in a campaign video.
  • Promulgate, maintain, or enforce work rules that reasonably tend to inhibit employees from exercising their rights under the Act.
  • Deny off-duty employees access to outside nonworking areas of your property, unless business reasons justify it.
  • Prohibit employees from wearing union buttons, t-shirts, and other union insignia unless special circumstances warrant.
  • Convey the message that selecting a union would be futile.
  • Discipline or discharge a union-represented employee for refusing to submit, without a representative, to an investigatory interview the employee reasonably believes may result in discipline.
  • Interview employees to prepare your defense in an unfair labor practice case, unless you provide certain assurances. You must communicate to the employee the purpose of the questioning, assure him against reprisals, and obtain his voluntary participation. Questioning must occur in a context free from employer hostility to union organization and must not itself be coercive. And questioning must not go beyond what is needful to achieve its legitimate purpose. That is, you may not pry into other union matters, elicit information concerning the employee’s subjective state of mind, or otherwise interfere with employee rights under the Act.
  • Initiate, solicit employees to sign, or lend more than minimal support to or approval of a decertification or union-disaffection petition.
  • Discharge, constructively discharge, suspend, layoff, fail to recall from layoff, demote, discipline, or take any other adverse action against employees because of their protected, concerted activities.

After two days of evidentiary hearings, the judge gave both sides an August 6th deadline to present briefs for his consideration.  A decision is not expected until later this year. 

 

Noise Complaint from Neighbor of Wichita PD Officer

At the most recent Board of Butler County Commissioners meeting, Butler County resident of Douglass, Jeff Runyon appeared before the Board during the “Public Comments” to appeal for help in resolving a long-running nuisance with neighbor who is a Wichita Police Department Officer.

Citing the near daily running of 4-Wheelers, Mr. Runyan expressed his frustration with the noise pollution. “These are not regular four wheelers, they are racing bikes with hardly any mufflers [and] has gone on for 5 years.”  He stated the noise level has increased each year.

He presented a specific incident when he called the Sheriff’s office. On October 1, 2016, the noise began at 8a in the morning and continued all day. From his home, half a mile away, he documented the noise with a decibel meter at 79 decibels. After canister fireworks went off, he called the Sheriff, it was approximately 10:30p.  Once the Sheriff’s deputy had left, Mr. Runyan heard individuals get back on the bikes and make comments such as “take that.”

In addition to the disruption to daily life, he noted “You can’t do anything without wondering when and where it’s going to start up.” Also, he has witnessed that the behavior is harassing wildlife.

Pleading with the Commission, he asked for serious help in putting together a noise resolution that can be enforced. “It is obnoxious behavior.  Where’s our rights and what can we do?”

“[Mr. Runyan] is not only one in that area complaining”  stated Commissioner Woydziak “We need to look at an enforceable law.”

Sheriff Kelly Herzet can not currently issue a ticket according to Butler County Attorney, Darrin Devinney.  He presented the challenges to prosecution under the active ordinance. It is an undetermined misdemeanor imposing a $500-$2000 fine for a first offense as a Class A misdemeanor.

Some of those challenges include the need for standardized equipment to enforce, as well as the cumulative effect of sound as a problem. Mr. Devinney asked, “Do we [prosecute] the land owner or all the parties? We have talked about this at length.  Sheriff Herzet and David Alfaro have spoken with Mr. Runyan regarding the remedies available to him.”

Sheriff Herzet has been accumulating sound ordinances violation for several years and this situation has been well documented.

Commissioner Masterson asked if a decibel level is set within the current ordinance and it was identified as limiting the allowable decibel level.

With respect to obtaining standardized equips for the department, he stated, “A decibel meter is not too expensive.” Sheriff Herzet outlines the actions he has taken. “What I’ve done is I have reached out. This guy is a Wichita police officer. Made contact … to let him know we’re on a complaint.” Sheriff Herzet added, “I like riding motorcycles but not from 8a-10p.”

County Administrator, Will Johnson informed the Commission that the complaint of out of season fireworks is currently enforceable.

The Commission determined to investigate how to amend the ordinance.